Ys: Oath in Felghana (PSP)

It's based on Ys 3, but it's really a completely new game. While Ys 3 had an enjoyable story, mediocre dungeons, and lackluster boss fights that relied more on being leveled up enough and ramboing them with the Power Ring, Oath in Felghana has some spectacular boss fights, the dungeons are still meh, and the plot has been completely butchered. Characters bangs on and on about crap I don't care about and most of it is accompanied by voice acting that's at best pointless but mostly tedious and annoying (Mams). I found myself skipping half the speech while thinking "Why don't you all make like Adol and shut the hell up." They also completely ruined the ending. Developers need to understand that, especially where the plot is concerned, sometimes less is more.


Ys IV: Dawn of Ys (TG-CD)

If you liked Ys Book 1 & 2, you'll like this. It's pretty much the same collide-with-enemies combat and item collecting dungeon exploration as before, only a couple of times you're given a partner who mostly just irritates you by getting in your way and killing enemies before you can and robbing you of EXP, or getting torched when you're trying to make your way through a hallway of patterned flamethrowers and they got stuck on a corner, dammit Dogi. The game is a bit more colorful than Book 1 & 2 and 3 (it does use the Super System Card), but the only song that really stood out to me was the second overworld song because it reminded me of "I Can't Defeat Airman."

The story, however, did kind of bug me. They retconned a lot of things from Ys 1 and 2, like that the goddesses were really just a winged humanoid race, and just as I was getting over my nerdrage, they end the game without explaining the stuff they brought to the table. Like, what was the Black Pearl's connection to the Mask of the Sun? And speaking of, why do we see the damn thing break three times during the game? And what the heck was going on with that bit in the ending with the mother telling a story to three kids, one of which looked like Adol as a ten-year-old?


Dark City (R)

It was nice that there were still many surprises in store after reading FO's Capsule Review (fifth item down). The film is about a race of aliens who have a single, collective set of memories and consciousness (basically they're the Buggers from Ender's Game) performing experiments on humans trying (an failing miserably) to discover what makes them human. It's a decent flick, but it leave several questions unanswered. How come Murdoch could Tune? And if the Strangers hated water so much, why did they come to a planet that was 3/4 covered in it? Also, the director said the final battle was supposed to be an homage to Akira. Uh, really? If I'd been told it was an homage to an anime, but not which one, my guess would have been Dragonball Z, what with all the rocks and people flying around.


City of Lost Children (R)

Who was this movie made for, exactly? You have the scene where a bunch of nude women come running out of a brothel, and later a fight where one guy gets stabbed in the face with a broken bottle, but other times it's kid-friendly and juvenile. Every second Ron Perlman's little brother was on screen, I wanted to punch him in the face and the movie closes with him burping. Those chain-reaction scenes like the one where Miette's teardrop causes a boat run aground really pushed my disbelief. But the absolute worst part of the movie had to be when the evil old guy dresses up like Santa Claus and tries to make some kids happy, and they all start SCREAMING. For SEVERAL MINUTES. You have NO idea how irritating this scene was. Also, one of the characters is a brain in a fish tank. I'm not sure which side that belongs on.


Ys Legacy (DVD)

Somebody who isn't a fan of Ys probably wouldn't get very much out of this. The name translations could have also used some work; "Adol" is pronounced three or four different ways throughout the series, "Dalles" and "Keith" are now "Dares" and "Kys" among other differences from the games, and Dalles/Dares calls Dark Fact "Dark Factor" which is especially clunky when everyone else (correctly) calls him "Fact". I also really don't care much for the Ys 2 episodes. Adol acts like he dropped his angst medication during the fight with Dark Fact, there's no explanation given as to why Dares is back after Adol killed him in the Darm Tower, and the goddesses summoning Luta, Goban, and Dogi to Ys was completely pointless when Lilian was the one who took the stupid harmonica to the top of the bell tower, and those three don't do a damn thing of importance after their clash with Kys. And just because I want to mention it, there was this one character whose name I didn't catch and seemed to have been created for the OVAs, who bugged the hell out of me whenever he showed up and not just because he was a whiny coward; he had a "slicked-back-with-a-few-stray-bangs" haircut and a red headband, and every time he popped up I couldn't help but wonder if the Frudicks had a relative in another game universe.

But the Ys 1 episodes are for the most part enjoyable. Aside from the name idiocy, Adol's tendency to stupidly repeat what he's been told, and some dull spots, it's interesting to see the show's take on the game's environments and enemies like that hallway in the Darm Tower with the lethal organ music, and the episode with Adol and Dogi in the mine is awesomely hilarious. Ys Legacy also has a place in my heart for the same reason the Blaster Master novel does; I like Adol, but he doesn't really talk in the games (save Ys 3 and the SNES version of Ys 4). However canon it might be, I do appreciate having something that gives the character a voice.